Western Cape premier Helen Zille says Mmusi Maimane was misinterpreted when he reportedly said she should have been removed from the DA's decision making structures, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported. Zille reportedly said this in response to questions from the ANC's Theo Olivier in the Western Cape provincial legislature on Thursday.
In an interview with the Sunday Times last week, Maimane reportedly said it was, "untenable to keep your former leader and your current leader ... in the same structures, or in the same functions."
He reportedly said Zille should have been given a different role, adding, "Being a party leader is like being a pilot, flying through turbulent waters. The last thing you need is the former pilot sitting in the jump seat trying to tell you what to do."
On Thursday, Zille was reportedly asked if she agreed with Maimane.
According to EWN, she replied, "The leader of the DA said nothing about my role in the premier's position, except the next day when people had misinterpreted him, just like the honourable Olivier, to say that there is no way that I would be removed as premier unless for example this caucus loses confidence in me and vote me out."
Tensions between the two leaders came to a head last year, when the party suspended Zille over tweets in which she said that the products of colonialism were not all bad. She apologised, but the party was not satisfied with her explanation.
Party insiders told the Mail & Guardian in March that Zille was untouchable in the party. It was reported that Zille and Maimane were not on speaking terms after a tweet posted by Zille about the Life Esidimeni tragedy. She wrote:
It is good that the families of the Life Esidimeni victims have received a measure of justice and compensation. I would like an answer to this question: What did they do, before these tragic deaths, to raise the alarm about their loved ones starving + living in profound neglect?— Helen Zille (@helenzille) March 20, 2018